People of Northwest Public Radio
Thu September 5, 2013
Risch Defends 'No' Vote On Syria, Saying U.S. Security Not At Stake
Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 3:08 pm
Idaho Sen. Jim Risch says the repercussions of a limited attack on Syria are too hazy and Americans are too war-weary to justify President Obama's proposed military strike.
Risch was back in Idaho Thursday morning after casting one of the dissenting votes on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The panel Wednesday approved the president's resolution on a 10 to 7 vote.
At a press conference in Boise, Risch told reporters he didn't buy the administration's argument that Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons is a matter of U.S. national security.
“I couldn't connect the dots to get there," he said. "Now, having said that, if they were able to convince me they had attacked one American person with weapons of mass destruction, any American interest or any of our allies, this would have been an absolute no-brainer for me and I would have come down differently on this.”
Risch says the credibility of the U.S. would be hurt more by an attack that failed to take out Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. And if Assad IS toppled, Risch says Syria's chemical weapons could end up in the wrong hands.
Risch joined four fellow Republicans and two Democrats on the Senate committee casting no votes.
He predicted President Obama will get the votes he needs in the Senate. The Republican wouldn't speculate about the U.S. House.
On the Web:
Authorization of use of force in Syria - US Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Chemical weapons attacks in Syria - The White House
Reaction To Syria
Washington Representatives On Syria Action